This morning, as I was taking my vitamins (a very rare occurrence) I noticed the glass I was using was cracked, from top to bottom. Not a huge deal, we have lots of glasses. I finished taking my handful of pills and as I threw the broken glass in the trash, I heard my dad’s voice echoing from my childhood, “If you break ’em, you don’t have to wash ’em!” He usually said that immediately after I dropped something (a very common occurrence). If the dish broke in the fall, I didn’t need to try to repair it, I could just toss it. Dad meant it as a joke, making light of my clumsiness so I didn’t feel bad for being such a klutz.
Today, that phrase struck me differently. I think my Dad was wrong. (Sorry, Dad!)
Often we care for someone, and then something happens… there’s a difference of opinion, a disagreement, an argument. A Facebook post we don’t like. A scriptural interpretation that doesn’t mirror our own. An opposing political perspective. One party says something, the other party says something and BAM! Relationship broken. We feel justified in not repairing it. After all, I am right, they are wrong and the only reasonable course of action is to never speak to them again. If it’s broken, you don’t have to wash it.
I’m so glad Jesus doesn’t hold this view. If I look at my life, my choices, my words, I am absolutely certain He has not been in agreement with me on all of them. His opinion matters. Mine, actually, not so much. But… and this is huge… Jesus NEVER withdraws His love from us. Even when we are wrong. And, I am pretty certain He calls us to mirror His love in our encounters with others, not justify why we don’t have to.
Now, I know… some of you are already, yeah-but-ing. You know…
“Yeah, but, you don’t understand what they said.”
“Yeah, but you don’t know how they hurt me.”
“Yeah, but you haven’t lived my life.”
You are absolutely right. I don’t, and I haven’t.
But I do know this – true transformation doesn’t… won’t… can’t come through argument, bitterness, or cold-shoulders. True transformation, healing, restoration can only come through sacrificial love. Jesus demonstrated it this way. The night before He was crucified He washed the disciples broken, dirty, smelly feet. Even Judas’.
And then He said this.
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
If you find yourself in a broken relationship, instead of tossing it away, perhaps you should grab a towel.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.